Ancient Roman Masterpiece On View at National Gallery of Art in Washington

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 06:39

Photo credit: Rob Shelley, National Gallery of Art.

The Dying Gaul, one of the most renowned works from Roman antiquity, is on view at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., on loan from the Capitoline Museums in Rome.

The Dying Gaul (Galata morente in Italian) was created in the first or second century A.D. It depicts a warrior in his final moments, his face contorted in pain just before he collapses from the mortal wound to his chest. “As an image of a vanquished enemy, the sculpture embodies courage in defeat, self-possession in the face of death, and the recognition of nobility in an alien race. A universally recognized masterpiece, the sculpture is a deeply moving celebration of the human spirit,” as the National Gallery of Art describes it.

The exhibition marks the first time it has left Italy since 1797, when Napoleonic forces took the sculpture to Paris, where it was displayed at the Louvre until its return to Rome in 1816.

The exhibition, which is part of the Year of Italian Culture in the U.S. 2013 (it opened December 12), closes March 16.

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